Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Secrets of Elisha 3

Compliments of the Season! Ain't you grateful that God has brought us this far? If you are not grateful, then you are not better than a great fool. In all that you do this season, always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and as you celebrate him, may He make you a celebrity. Ain't you suppose to be talking about Elisha? someone may be asking. Of course I am but I need to put down those lines in the spirit of the season.

We have diagnosed the various stages in his journey with Elijah and their spiritual significance in part 1 & 2. As I conclude this post today, I will be looking at the attributes or qualities in Elisha that stood him out from the crowd. I am afraid I may need a part 4 to conclude this series but I will try as much as possible to see that this won't be the case. I crave your patience cos u may be in for a lengthy reading but trust me, it has a lot in stock for u!

Hope you are aware that Elisha wasn't the only prophet in town at the time. Of course not! In I Kings 18: 13, Obediah reminded Elijah of how he hid an hundred prophets of the Lord in a cave away from the onslaught of Jezebel. So there were some prophets in the Land at the time. Also recall that at each stage Elijah and Elisha got to, there were sons of the prophets (these were prophets-in-waiting, i.e there were trainee prophets serving other prophets with the hope of succeeding them). It is obvious that there are other prophets at the time but why did God by pass them and went for Elisha? That's the question I will attempt to answer in this post. He by-passed them, I believe, because of the qualities He saw in Elisha. Those prophets were cowards and were not worthy to be entrusted with the great task of confronting the prophets of baal and of reviving Israel. There were alive but there impact was not being felt. It got to the point that Elijah was bold enough to declare to God that he was the only prophet left in the Land. If you know what that implies, then you would understand the extent of their cowardice. Elijah didn't know they existed, and God couldn't count on them either. If only one Elijah troubled Jezebel and her prophets, imagine what those hundred prophets could have been able to do if they were cut out of the same sterner stuff as Elijah.
God knew that these anonymous prophets would chicken out when the chips are down. Imagine them been hid in the cave by an "ordinary" Obediah who wasn't even a prophet because of a woman. So, when it was time for heaven to shop for Elijah's replacement, none of them nor their students passed heaven's test except Elisha. Elisha was , in my opinion, the least experienced in prophetic matters amongst existing prophets and sons of prophets then. Remember Elisha was not yet known until I Kings19:19 that was after Elijah confronted and defeated Jezebel and her porphets.
So, what are the qualities that made Elisha thick?
They are:

1) Desire and Hunger:
Elisha was a man with a burning desire, an insatiable hunger for the spiritual. He was never content with his spiritual level but was continuously pressing forward. Neither the joy of Gilgal, nor the splendour of Bethel, nor the oppositions of Jericho could hold him back. He refused to settle down on any of these mountains as it were. He, like apostle Paul, was in the practice of forgetting those things there were behind and reaching forth unto those things that are before. He pressed on until he reached his mark. Remember at every level they got to, there were the sons of the prophets. Elisha meets and leaves them behind at each level. These sons of the prophet lack hunger for the spiritual, although they knew what God was about to do but they were too complacent to key into it. There are such people in churches today. Year in, year out, they remain where they have always been. No growth, no progress. They can tell you how their church started, or even recite the scriptures by rot but are very anonymous. Their impact are not being felt in their churches. They leave in their past. For them it is now, "I remember when i was a soldier". And if you are not careful they may slow you down just like that old prophet did to that young prophet in the bible. Desire and hunger are spiritual lubricants that keep the wheel of your spiritual life going.

2) Focus:
"Show me a man who knows where he is going but never gets there, and I will show you a man who lacks focus, a man given to much distractions"-Prince
Elisha had a great deal of focus. The first sign of this was manifest in I Kings 19:21 when Elijah first found him. The Bible says he burnt his yoke of oxen and bade his family goodbye. In other words, he made sure nothing stands as a potential source of distraction to him. He like the early apostles, abandoned all and followed his master. Another evidence of his focus was his response to the batches of fifty sons of the prophets as each tried to distract him from following Elijah at each level they got to. He always told them, "I know but hold your peace". And the climax of it was over Jordan when Elijah asked him to make a request which he did. Elijah told him in II Kings 2: 10, "Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see when i am taken from thee, it shall be so unto; but if not, it shall not be so" It sounds simple but very tricky. And Elisha passed the test. One thing that is obvious is that Elisha abandoned himself to this cause and gave his all. One of the weapons the devil uses against youths of this generation is distraction. There are forces of diversion and distraction all over demanding our attention and resources. Their aim? To distract you from your goal and divert your energy and resources to something else. They are countless and abound at every turn: on campuses, in churches, in our neighborhoods etc. No matter where you find them, their mission is the same. One of the tasks you owe yourself is that of been able to discern these forces whenever they show up. Many destinies are aborted because of these forces. If you doubt me, go and ask Samson.

3) Foresight and vision:
Needless to say, Elisha was a man with profound foresight. He knew that Elijah's mission was over and there was need for a successor and thus positioned himself for it. Not only that, he had a clear vision and purpose for following Elijah which was why he didn't hesitate to state what he wanted when asked to do so.
He knew what he wanted even before he embarked on the journey. He had his desired or expected end in sight which was why he could endure the pains of that lengthy journey. It wasn't a rosy journey at all!
He knew what God has spoken concerning him and was willing to the pay the price for it.
Do you have a vision of your tomorow? What is your goal or vision concerning your present engagement. Hear this:
"your life flows in the direction of your vision"- Prince
It means without vision, your life will be without direction.

4) Ability to see and seize opportunity:
Let me say this. There was no open invitation to Elisha to come with Elijah. In fact at every turn of the journey, Elijah would try to dissuade him but he wouldn't let go because he saw in that journey an opportunity others couldn't see even though they too, knew about the journey. They (the sons of the prophets) all had an opportunity to come on board but were too blind to it. Elisha saw and seize the opportunity. For more on the dynamics of opportunity see my post on opportunity

5) Determination, persistence and patience:
Wow! Finally we've come to the last lap of the race.
Elisha was a man of great determination, persistence and patience. Not even the subtile discouragement of his master Elijah could stop him.
I believe we can all pin point how and where the trio of determination, persistence and patience were exhibited by Elisha.
I also believe there might be other qualities of Elisha than those highlighted above.
So am leaving that out for you to highlight as your comments in the comment section.


Monday, 7 December 2009

The Secrets of Elisha 2

Compliments of the season!
I know it is the trend to blog on topics that reflect the season we are or those that have to do with reviewing the year. But in keeping with my promise, I will continue with the part 2 of the secret of Elisha.
In the last post, we looked at Gilgal and Bethel and their spiritual significance in Elisha's journey vis-a-vis our own spiritual journey. We shall be looking at Elisha's next port of call viz Jericho and Jordan and if time and space permit we will look at certain things about Elisha that made him able to go this far with his master Elijah and thus received a double portion of Elijah's anointing.
I will recommend you read part 1, for those who may not have done so, so as to really know where we are coming from.

3) Jericho
II Kings 2: 4 " And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD has sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. SO they came to Jericho".
It is has at Jericho the men are separated from the boys. Jericho is a place of confrontations. Jericho means (or represents) stronghold. Joshua 6:1-3, "Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out and none came in". Immediately you meet with God at Bethel (remember what I said Bethel represents), the next major junction in your journey is to confront the walls of Jericho. The scripture says, Jericho was shut because of the children of Israel, none went out or come in. Jericho represents limitations. If there is anything Jericho wants to accomplish in your life is to make sure your Bethel (those encounters/periods you had with God that results in you making some promises and vows to HIM) is aborted. The enemy has placed Jericho on your path to limit you and you can never enter into your destiny until your Jericho is defeated. What is that Jericho in your life that tends to bring you back to square one whenever you seem to be making headway in your spiritual journey with the Lord? The Jericho you will have to confront may not be the same facing me but the truth is that we all have one Jericho or the order to confront and conquer so we can go in and possess our possession. There are those whose Jericho is fear: whenever they seem to have encountered God at Bethel making promises to HIM, everything seems to be aborted by this Jericho of a fear. That has been the story of their of lives. To others, it is women. Just like Samson, it has robbed them their fellowship with God and has been their greatest undoing.
What about talkativeness? There are individuals suffering from verbal diaorrhea/dysentery. If only they could bridle their tongues, they would be instruments of honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use. Another common Jericho, is television (home videos). Our sisters seem the most hit. If only they could invest the precious hours spent watching TV and home movies in more profitable spiritual ventures, what impact they would made. Take it or leave it, this is one of the root causes of prayerlesness in the church today. Believers now find it difficult to spend even 30mins in prayers but the same fellow just spent close to 3 hours watching TV a few minutes ago. What about gluttony? Another Jericho.
Discover that Jericho in life and deal with it. Your Jericho could be liken to the "BUT" in your life. Have you heard statements like, "she is a nice girl but... or He is very zealous but...?" Those buts are your real enemies and until you conquer them (i.e. your Jericho) your promised land will remain elusive. God help us!

4) Jordan
II Kings 2: 6, "And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on"
When you conquer Jericho, you have conquered the flesh. And when you conquer the flesh you begin to walk in the supernatural. Listen! If you ever get to the Jordanic stage without conquering your Jericho (the flesh), it will certainly pull you down sooner rather than later. I repeat, it is tantamount to sitting on a keg of gun powder if your Jericho (the flesh) is left unconquered, i mean if it is still alive and active. Have you not heard of Christians who started well but ended up badly because they refused to deal with their Jericho (the buts in their lives).
Jordanic stage is also that stage when one begins to do things that are contrary to the flesh and reasoning faculties. It is the stage of demonstrations of the power of God. It is a realm reserved for those who have their flesh under subjection, those who have conquered their flesh. Naaman after conquering his flesh (his was his pride), was healed at Jordan. To Naaman, dipping oneself into Jordan seven times didn't make sense to him. There were better rivers in Syria, he reasoned in his pride.
This is also the stage of manifestations. The scripture declares in Romans 8 that the creature awaits the manifestation of the Sons of God. No son manifests before this stage! It was at Jordan that God declares "this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" about Jesus. At this stage the heavens open, it is a stage of possibilities!
It was at this stage that Elisha had the privilege of making a request. Hmm! There are requests you can't make at Gilgal, Bethel or Jericho. And if you make them, you won't have them granted. The reason is that they are reserved for sons and not children. They might ruin you if granted. By delaying them, God is simply asking you to grow up.

I will highlight some attributes or qualities in Elisha that made him go the whole lap of the journey with Elijah and will look at them in details in my next port.
They are desire, hunger, focus, foresight, ability to see and seize opportunity, determination, persistence and patience

So watch out for the concluding part.

Till then,